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A Laboratory Man – The Official Party ‘Cadre’ in Cuba

A Laboratory Man: The Official Party ‘Cadre’ in Cuba / 14ymedio,
Reinaldo Escobar

14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 9 May 2016 – Marxist thinkers from
the last century appeared to be convinced that the communist ethic could
only work after the elimination of the different social classes or, and
it’s the same thing, when the communist society triumphed in the
economic plane. “How can stealing be ethically condemned when there is
no property?” they asked with the same guileless eagerness medieval
theologians brought to their debates about the carnality of the glorious
bodies resuscitated after the final judgment.

In practice, politicians who have had to get their hands dirty in
an attempt to implement different Marxist experiments have come to
understand the length of this “transition stage” called socialism. They
have confronted the contradiction of not being able to lay their
principles in the already rejected “bourgeois morality” and, on the
other hand, they have seen the impossibility of applying communist
morality in anticipation, impractical without the support of the
material base assumed in the scientific fulfillment of their inexorable

In consequence, each “historically determined” model found its
provisional ethics, negating the previous one but incompatible with
those of the future. It was that ethic that enabled Joseph Stalin’s
forced collectivization, Mao’s Great Step Forward, and to
decree the Revolutionary Offensive. From this moral relativism arose the
Code of Ethics for the cadres of the Cuban State.

The original version of this little known document was promulgated on 17
July 1996, signed by the then all-powerful Carlos Lage Davila. It was
called Agreement 3050 and was displayed as a “proposal presented by the
Cadres’ Central Committee, concerning the need to define and systemize a
code of standards that would rule the lives and conduct of the Cadres of
the Cuban State.”

Among the purposes and forms of application summarized in seven points,
is the need to alert and prevent cadres “facing tendencies that could
arise in the face of economic transformations and aggressive enemy
action.” Compliance with the principles codified would be obligatory for
the heads of the state’s central administrative organs, national
entities, and presidents of the provincial and municipal People’s Power
Administrative Councils, among others, who will have to determine
“within their respective systems, the positions to which the Code of
Ethics will be applied.”

Once these functionaries know and accept the content of the new rules,
they will have to express their willingness to comply with them
“publically, in an official act at the acceptance of the position.” Not
content with that, “in cases of promotions and transfers, in the process
of preparation for the new position,” the cadre is obliged to update his
or her knowledge of the document, as well as again publicly ratify the
commitment to fully comply.

Through a table of commandments broken down into 27 points, the Code
demands “high moral values, deep revolutionary sensitivity, and a clear
sense of duty” along with other virtues that cadres must have, such as
sincerity, honesty, modesty, austerity, simplicity and discretion.

At the same time, it condemns lying, deceit, demagoguery, fraud, apathy,
indolence, pessimism, hypercriticism and defeatism. Among other harmful
attitudes indicated are the spirit of justification, inaction in the
face of difficulties and mistakes, lack of initiative, the features of
ostentation and consumer habits. It warns that the performance of cadres
should be stripped of voluntarism, vanity, improvisation, professional
injustice and mediocrity as well as sectarianism, and contempt for the
dignity of others. Cadres must combat boasting, self-sufficiency,
conceit, intolerance and insensitivity.

Paradoxically, the inability to be consistent with such requirements has
promoted a defect not mentioned in the text: simulation – that is,
faking it – the only alternative to which has been, for many, desertion,
an action not contemplated among the violations.

In the 20 years of the Code of Ethics’s existence, probably not a single
one of the sins of listed here has ceased to be committed, nor has there
flourished even one of the untarnished virtues advertised therein. Not
only that, but sins have been abundant and virtues few at all levels of
the government and political leadership of the country, and at all
levels of administration.

In the wasteland of moral values there has been unleashed a plague of
brazen cynicism, of sordid impudence that nobody knows how to stop. And
not even mentioned is the advent of the New Jerusalem the communist
utopia would suggest. There will be a final judgment where we all will
have to be forgiven for something.

Source: A Laboratory Man: The Official Party ‘Cadre’ in Cuba / 14ymedio,
Reinaldo Escobar – Translating Cuba –

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